For a guy born in Norwalk, Connecticut, Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva sure had a lengthy and exotic name. When he became known to millions of music fans worldwide, it was by the shortened and Anglicized moniker Horace Silver.
Introduced to the music of his father’s native Cape Verde, Silver first entered music as a tenor saxophonist, but moved to piano. In 1950, he won a gig backing Stan Getz, then made the move to New York City, where he worked at the club Birdland every Monday night. It was in this period Silver became a chief architect of the hard bop sound, first in his work on Miles Davis’ album “Walkin’,” then through founding the Jazz Messengers ensemble with drummer Art Blakey.
Silver continued as a staple of the genre that blended rhythm and blues with gospel and jazz, writing songs that would become standards of the canon like “The Preacher” and “Sister Sadie.” His most famous work would go on to provide inspiration for newer artists like Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder.
Most fitting for the man who penned “Song for My Father,” Silver will be highlighted by the Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed (MOJO) on the day after Father’s Day, Monday, June 22, 6:30 p.m. at Gulf City Lodge (601 State St.) The Suburban Jazz Quartet plus a pair of horns will do the honors of interpreting Silver’s music.
Entrance is $12, $10 for students and military and $8 for MOJO members. Entrance includes a light jambalaya dinner, and a cash bar will be available.
Portal Studio hails solar high mark
Portal Studio (163 N. Lawrence St.), in the Auto Alley district of downtown, carries on its tradition of seasonal artistic celebrations timed with humanity’s long-held festivals of solar position. The next in the series marks the year’s longest period of daylight with the Psych Solstice lasting an entire weekend, June 20 and 21.
The Saturday performance schedule kicks off at 8 p.m. with music sets from Mobile’s Jimmy Lee and Birmingham’s Freaky Deakys. Bo Poston will be on hand for fire breathing demonstrations and the results of a film scramble will be screened. Next will be performance art by Lillian McKinnney before the night closes with Southside Show’s Gypsy Circus.
Ironically, the second night of the solstice event opens with dark music from Night. That will be followed by Leland Clay’s folk reggae, April Patrick’s fire dancing and Baklava belly dancers. The event closes with the psychedelic tones of Mobile band 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Also featured will be a marketplace for sundry items. Attendees are asked to bring records, clothes, goods or art works to barter.
For more information, including a schedule of times and map to the studio, look up the festival on Facebook.
Former arts honcho back to Hoosier State
When Mobile Arts Council (MAC) Director Bob Burnett announced his resignation in January, it took a lot of people by surprise. His stated plans at the time were to remain in the area, but in a job a bit more low-key.
Scratch all that now. Burnett recently said he is headed back to his old stomping grounds in a few weeks to take a new position at Butler University in Indianapolis, where he will become grant manager for Region Seven of the Indiana Arts Commission’s (IAC) Regional Grant Program. Burnett said Butler serves as the Regional Partner Organization for IAC.
Butler is an Indianapolis private university founded in 1855. Its 2014 enrollment was 4,848.
Burnett’s tenure atop MAC was one of the longest in the organization’s 60-year history. He arrived in the fall of 2003 and presided over some the most visible and beneficial changes to not only MAC but also Mobile’s entire arts community.
With our languid way of life, it’s pretty easy to put off things until they become more convenient. If you were waiting to tell Burnett thanks for a dozen years of service to our cultural scene, the chance is about to pass.
New arts mag in print and online
There’s a new ant farm in Mobile but you don’t have to worry about knocking it off your shelf. Despite the name, it’s more about serving local arts than drones serving a queen.
Ant Farm Journal is the private brainchild of a pair of University of Mobile students. Co-founder and design director Heath Vester is a junior majoring in fine arts with a concentration in graphic design. His partner and editor-in-chief Eleanor Mason, co-founder, is a senior majoring in English.
“Our primary reason for creating the magazine was to give creatives and artists in the community a platform to share their work, while also showcasing what sets Mobile apart from other Southern cities when it comes to art, culture and history,” Vester said in a press release.
Not officially a university publication, they said three editions have been printed with another due this month. The first two can be viewed online at antfarmmobile.com. Print copies can be found at Mars Hill Café and Carpe Diem in Mobile, Shop Around the Corner and Moka’s Coffee House in Saraland and The Little Shop in Satsuma.